Runaway Jury
2003
In this drama based on John Grisham's best-selling novel, Nick Easter (John Cusack) gets himself on the jury of a landmark case against a gun manufacturer and, as the foreman, tries to influence the other jury members to vote a certain way. Meanwhile, Easter's girlfriend, Marlee (Rachel Weisz), tries to swindle the attorneys (Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman) to pay millions of dollars to have the jury return a verdict friendly to their clients.

Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

John Grisham adaptation checklist:

√ Idealistic, suave protagonist uses shady methods but is redeemed by good intentions.

√ The villain's ultimate sin: Thinking he's above the law.

√ When not ignoring the morality, underline it more than necessary (by turning Dustin Hoffman's character into a bona-fide good guy instead of the lesser evil like in the book).

√ Colorful Southern location to make the tale slightly less boring.

√ Not plot holes so much as gaping plot chasms: Early scenes, character motivations, and entire subplots make no sense in the context of the final revelations.

√ Vaguely positive mention of Southern Baptists.

Yup. "Runaway Jury" got 'em all. It's well-cast, well-acted, well-written, entertaining, and a totally mediocre product. What did you expect, Oscar nominations? It's not boring if you're hard up for something to rent, but you could do a lot better, including both versions of "12 Angry Men."

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